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God's Companions: Reimagining Christian Ethics

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2013-5
244 pages
June 2006, Wiley-Blackwell


We are pleased to annouce that God’s Companions by Samuel Wells has been shortlisted for the 2007 Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing.

Grounded in Samuel Wells’ experience of ordinary lives in poorer neighborhoods, this book presents a striking and imaginative approach to Christian ethics. It argues that Christian ethics is founded on God, on the practices of human community, and on worship, and that ethics is fundamentally a reflection of God's abundance.

Wells synthesizes dogmatic, liturgical, ethical, scriptural, and pastoral approaches to theology in order to make a bold claim for the centrality of the local church in theological reflection. He considers the abundance of gifts God gives through the practices of the Church, particularly the Eucharist. His central thesis, which governs his argument throughout, is that God gives his people everything they need to worship him, be his friends, and eat with him. Wells engages with serious scholarly material, yet sets out the issues lucidly for a student audience.

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Table of Contents



Part I: The Body of Christ as Jesus.

1. Yesterday.

2. Forever.

3. Today.

Part II: The Body of Christ as the Church.

4. Forming.

5. Incorporating.

6. Performing.

7. Restoring.

Part III: The Body of Christ as the Eucharist.

8. Meeting.

9. Hearing.

10. Responding.

11. Sharing.

12. Going.

Works Cited.


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Author Information

Samuel Wells was born in Canada, studied in Oxford, Edinburgh, and Durham, UK and spent fourteen years in parish ministry in the Church of England, mostly in socially deprived areas, before moving to North Carolina to be Dean of the Chapel at Duke University and Research Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School. He has written several books in the field of theological ethics, including Transforming Fate into Destiny: The Theological Ethics of Stanley Hauerwas (2004), Improvisation and the Drama of Christian Ethics (2004) and Community-Led Estate Regeneration and the Local Church (2003). He co-edited with Stanley Hauerwas The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (Blackwell, 2004).
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The Wiley Advantage

  • This revolutionary book presents a new approach to Christian ethics.
  • Grounded in the author’s extensive experience of parish ministry in poorer neighbourhoods.
  • Makes a bold claim for the centrality of the local church in theological reflection.
  • Synthesises dogmatic, liturgical, ethical, practical, scriptural, and pastoral approaches to theology.
  • Engages with serious scholarly material but also lays out the issues clearly for a student audience.
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"This is a truly outstanding work on ethics … A treasure trove of insights and wisdom." (Pacific Journal of Baptist Research, 2007)

“Wells moves seamlessly from exposition of scripture to stories of ordinary lives”
(Christian Century)

"I found the book to be a rich feast of sharp insights, pastoral wisdom and refreshing exposition. I am glad to find that one of Gods companions and hence ours is Sam Wells." (Crucible)

"Wells himself presents a compelling account of how Christian ethics is shapes by the practises of the church."
(Theological Book Review)

“Sam Wells has written a stunningly good book. He is a great storyteller and his stories reveal how the abundance of God is found in the life of the local church. God's companions turn out to be all around us. Anyone who imagines ethics is a dry subject should drink deep from Wells at his most refreshing.”
–Graham James, Bishop of Norwich

"God’s Companions is an excellent exemplification of seeing the liturgy as the primary source of Christian action in the world. With the help of some wonderfully insightful Scriptural exegesis, Wells shows how God in liturgical action gives us an abundance of everything we need. More than a commentary on liturgy and ethics in general, Wells' book is, from start to finish, based in descriptions of the everyday practices of ordinary congregations. Wells bridges the academic/pastoral divide with grace."
–William T. Cavanaugh, University of St. Thomas

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